The neglect of thanksgiving

The entire month of October is not only spent in anticipation but also in preparation for Halloween. Pumpkin carving, haunted houses, costume parties and scary movies are all on our minds as soon as the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to fall. It’s an exciting and warm time for all as fall’s trademark holiday is celebrated throughout the entire month of October even though it’s only a single day at the end of the month.

Like all holidays, Halloween comes to a close. The familiar melancholy feeling of November arrives with the turn of the calendar page. Many people begin to toss out their leftover candy corn and their slightly rotten pumpkins only to be replaced almost immediately by garland and Santa Clause figurines only days later. Just like that, the seasonal mindset has changed and crunchy leaves suddenly turns to imaginative snow in everyone’s mind. Halloween ends and the holiday season comes.

While Christmas music starts creeping into the background noise of shopping malls, we suddenly find ourselves on Nov. 1 staring into the face of Christmas and other December holidays. The constant reminders of the upcoming holidays are enough to make November feel like its sole purpose is to be a time of preparation for Christmas. Many of us find ourselves obsessing over every aspect of Christmas and how it’s all going to play out. December looms over November like a burden.

During this time, it seems like our televisions only serve as a constant reminder of just how many gifts we have to buy. Our list of things we need to purchase grows larger but our paycheck comes in boasting the same numbers that get us by each month. It’s during these moments each year that I slowly started to realize how robbed we are of the Thanksgiving holiday.

November has something to boast of its own. Like October and December, it also has a spot in the “Holiday Season.” November is home to one of the most overshadowed and under-appreciated holidays of the year: Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a holiday that sadly falls in between two kingpins of the year. Both Halloween and Christmas come with a mindset and include many days of preparation for celebration, while Thanksgiving is only thought of on one solitary day of November. In fact, one could barely call it an entire day since the recent change to Black Friday shopping hours have now cut in to the actual day of Thanksgiving.

The holiday, which represents a time of thanksgiving and appreciation is actually positioned perfectly. It falls right before one of the most consumer-based holidays of the year. While I’m not knocking Christmas, the emphasis on receiving and gift giving has changed the entire message of the holiday. To me, Thanksgiving is a reminder that before we enter the Christmas season, we need to be reminded of the blessings we have. Thanksgiving should be a day where we sit and reflect on the many moments we’ve shared with our loved ones during the past year. Its sole purpose is selflessness.

While the turkey is being carved and the cranberry sauce is being passed around, we should all take time to stop and reflect on the rest and insight the holiday season provides us with. Instead of what we can buy or receive, the concentration needs to shift to what the day is about. While Thanksgiving may not be the most glamorous holiday, it deserves to be celebrated with as much zeal and commitment as its neighboring holidays. A challenge I’m taking on this Thanksgiving is to pause and fully appreciate what that day means and what it stands for.